I know you’re weary. I know you can barely find time to read a couple of pages of your book or shave your legs or eat a sandwich uninterrupted. I know that the last thing you need is something new for your never-ending to-do list. But regardless, I am asking you – I am pleading with you – to check your breasts once a month, to go to your smears, to get that unusual mole or those abdominal pains checked by the GP. Chances are, everything will be fine. But even if everything’s always been fine before, please don’t assume it always will be.
I was thirty-five when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was pregnant. I didn’t think it would happen to me. My Mum had already done battle with breast cancer, and I still wasn’t worried. I was too young. And besides, I had a two-year-old and another baby on the way and I was tired all the time and there was just no way that life would be so cruel. I didn’t check my breasts regularly. If my lump hadn’t been so bloody obvious (about the size of a pea, hard to the touch, and right by my nipple), I might never have found it. I might not be here.
When this is published, it will be World Cancer Day. It will be Sunday evening, and I’ll have spent the day with my husband and my two children, and I’ll barely have had time to think. But once they’re in bed and have finally given in to sleep, I will think about the women who didn’t make it. I’m in a support group with a couple of thousand young women who probably never thought it would happen to them either, and some of them don’t make it. In a group of people my age, my story is a bit shocking, but within that support group, I’m one of the lucky ones.
So here’s what I’m trying to say to you: If you’re unlucky enough to get cancer, be lucky enough to catch it as early as possible. I know you’re weary. But I also know you’re a superwoman when it comes to getting stuff done for your children. Meals cooked and fevered brows mopped and cuddles dispensed. This could be the most important thing of all that you do for them, because it could mean the difference between them having and not having their mum. Do it for them. And do it for you.
Please do share Laura’s letter and help encourage women to check their bodies. Thank you. You can read Laura’s brilliant Motherload blog Where are my Natural Mothering Instincts?. For the very latest from our writers, visit The Motherload® homepage
Laura is a writer who lives in Leicestershire with her husband and their two children. When she’s not writing or reading, she can usually be found trying to get her son to put his shoes on, encouraging her daughter to sleep past 5am or moving small items from one room to another. You can follow her on Twitter and on her blog about getting cancer when she was pregnant.